If you’re new here, read Samantha and Will’s story so far.

“I could never have imagined,” Sam whispered, “so much space, so much sky.”

As they bumped along in Will’s pickup, Sam delighted in the fir trees dividing the mud-tracked pastures from the indigo and white mountains, marveled at the peaks painted against the endless, cloudless pale blue of the Montana sky.

“Hits me every time I see it,” Will replied.

He was watching her profile in the early afternoon sunlight pouring in through the window of his truck.

The ends of her chestnut hair, pulled back in a low tail, twirled in the hot air from the dashboard vents. He reached out, caught a curl in his fingers. She was too riveted by the view to notice.

“Is that a hawk?” she asked, craning her neck to look out the window.

“It’s probably a kestrel, a fal-” he said, stopping short as he looked over at her.

She had lifted her chin, revealing the graying, faded bruise under her jaw, a thick oval marked on her skin. Rage bubbled up, threatened to spill over. The bastard had put his hands on her.

Sam pointed out the window. In the distance, three figures on horseback rode a fence line in the foothills.

Will tamped down the blaze of violence that burned in his chest.

“It’s like another time,” she wondered aloud. “When do we get to Left of Paradise?”

“We’re here,” he replied, deftly negotiating the truck around a puddle the size of her Honda, “we’ve been on Ron’s land for about five minutes now. Everything you see is the LP.”

“Oh, my god,” she breathed, baffled by the vastness of the ranch.

They drove for a few more minutes in relative silence, the distinctive sound of vintage Peter Buck guitar licks filling the air below the rush of hot air from the ancient heaters.

They pulled up in front of a cluster of smallish log cabins.

Will killed the ignition and reached across Sam’s lap to pull the door handle. He got a haircut, she thought, seeing the fresh, blunt line at the nape of his neck where the sun hadn’t deepened his tan.

The urge to touch his face was nearly irresistible. Nearly.

“It sticks from the outside,” he said by way of explanation, straightening up in his seat.

“Oh,” she said, feeling a flush rise on her face.

Neither spoke. Without the rumble of the truck, the motion of travel, the unspoken loomed between them.

“I’ll get the door,” Will said, before dropping down out of the cab of the truck and jogging around to the passenger side.

He opened her door, she swung her legs out. He reached for her hand when she stepped onto the running board.

She took his hand, breathed in the crisp mountain air, and everything fell away. As easy as dancing, her feet touched the packed dirt driveway, Will closed the door of the truck, she shifted her weight, and he was holding her.

The time, the longing, the distance, the horrible scene with her erstwhile fiancé, all of it blew away on a snow and cattle scented breeze.

He cradled her cheek in his palm, searched her eyes.

Whisper light, he touched his lips to hers, and the whole world shifted.

Write a maximum 600-word piece that begins with the line, “I could never have imagined” and ends with the line, “Then the whole world shifted.”

35 responses to “Arrival

  1. YES!! Finally!!!!! Happy dance! As always, I love how you take your time. The pace is perfection. Love!

  2. Dammit woman, you’ve done it again. You fill the moments with details that only enrich the experience. Your writing addresses almost all the senses.
    I love that!

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  4. It’s past my bedtime,and I’m sitting here rereading,and wanting more,now,please

  5. love.Love.LOVE this.

  6. Fantastic! wooohooo! Let the shift begin.

  7. yeah, finally! They kiss! I’m working on description, you my dear, are a pro!
    I will be back to reread and study this 😉

  8. OH, my goodness. I must go back and read more about Samantha and Will!

  9. Hooray! But it’s not over yet, right?

  10. I feel like I am watching an epic movie unfold before me and I can’t wait to watch the rest of it because I just KNOW that it is going to be good!

    And GOOD is what this piece of writing is.

  11. Beautiful! I love seeing where this story is going and I’m always amazed how you can make it work with the prompt.

  12. of course the soundtrack is R.E.M. of course!
    so beautiful. i want to go there. can we go, please?

  13. Looks like I need to go back and read the rest of the story!!

  14. A “snow and cattle scented breeze” that cleanses one of unpleasant memories and longing?

    Oh, I like that very much.

  15. Can I live inside your stories?
    just asking…

  16. You are so great at making us feel like we are right there. I could just smell the snow and cattle scented breeze! As always, lovely!

  17. “Erstwhile fiance.” Swoon.

    Love the description of the bruise and his anger. I would have overdone it–you hit it (no pun intended) perfectly.

    When her feet touched the running board I was hoping that there would be a kiss!

    Also? Kisses where the man holds the woman’s face? Swoon.

  18. swooning. just gorgeous, this landscape of words you’ve created. Le sigh.

  19. You always make me want the next page. Wonderful as always, I was right there with them.

  20. Lovely story. Beautiful, sensuous description. I’m in love.

  21. Oh my God. I’m in love, love, love. I had to go read the rest of the story and it’s just not enough! I need more. Like a lot more. As in a whole book.

    Please tell me that this is the work that’s almost done and that you have a publisher and that you’ll autograph my copy.

  22. Oh, happy sighs!
    You do this so good.

  23. Oh, YAY! I’m so glad they have finally come together. Brilliant as usual 🙂

  24. Finally, you put us out of our misery!
    I do so love your story…their story.
    Beautifully done, my friend.
    What a happy little gift this is to your readers. 🙂

  25. You are a very talented writer CDG. Every word sets up the next word and you are very adapt at creating a scene. Agree with In Mandyland that I want to read the book.

  26. Woohoo! Finally! I am so in love with this story. Can’t wait to read more.

  27. Yay! Finally! I love the marriage of tender, sexy and so so awkward.

  28. Love this! Now I have to go back and read the beginning…

  29. A snow and cattle scented breeze. For someone who has been there, that bit alone sets the entire scene.

    Great job on the piece. I liked it. I will have to go back and read more!

  30. This? Was fabulous! Loved it. Need to go read more of the story now…

  31. I have been to Montana and yes.

    I have been in that longingness and yes.

    your writing? oh there are no words.

    get me a copy of this and don’t forget me when you are famous and I am just that weird groupie at your B&N signing telling everyone I “knew” you.

  32. Reading your posts are like treating myself- this is awesome, I too loved the mixing of the awkward moments and the tension. Will’s anger rising because Sam had been hurt makes me absolutely love him. I felt like I was there, this had everything a great book delivers to it’s reader.

  33. Just perfect. I am so glad to see them here at this point.
    “As easy as dancing” love!

  34. Yes about the pacing. You move with us, like a dancer. You bring us where we need to be. You don’t rush.

    I learn so much from you.

  35. Pingback: The Dust Settles | Move Over Mary Poppins!

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